Assassin’s Creed 3 left a bad taste in the mouths of some gamers; the main character, the setting, and story just didn’t seem to connect like we expected it would. This time around Ubisoft is hoping for a fresh start with its new pirate setting, characters, and open world. Can Ubisoft deliver the experience we hope for, or is the Assassin’s Creed franchise a sinking ship? From the looks of things, Assassin’s Creed 4 might be a turning point.
Assassin’s Creed 4 takes place after the modern day events of the third title. However, the bulk of the game takes place before the events of Assassin’s Creed 3. Other then the modern day story, Assassin’s Creed 4 won’t tie in much with the previous game. Since Desmond is gone, Ubisoft had to create a new protagonist for you to latch onto: you. Yes you yourself are the modern day protagonist in Assassin’s Creed 4. You will be playing the role of an Abstergo programmer. Over the course of the game you will relive the memories of Edward Kenway, the notorious pirate Assassin. Since the events of Assassin’s Creed 3, Desmond’s DNA has since been uploaded to the cloud of Abstergo industries. Since then, programmers have been scouring the data for more information. For those of you that hate the modern day setting, most of it is completely optional now. Ubisoft claims that over the course of the game, only about 45 minutes of the content is required, the other four hours is optional for people who actually enjoy the setting.
The core Assassin’s Creed gameplay mechanics remain the same. You’ll be jumping, climbing, and most importantly assassinating. However, Kenway has some extra tricks. Kenway has four pistols holstered to himself that can be fired in quick succession. He can also dual wield swords and other weapons for quicker counters.
Naval battles make a return in Assassin’s Creed 4. Ubisoft spent a lot of time reconfiguring the ship battles to feel more fun. Your ship is no longer a slave to the wind, which might feel unrealistic but the other option is frustrating open world travel. Ubisoft put a lot of work into the water to make the waves more realistic than the previous game. You will sail against the waves and avoid the big ones in order to get the best shot possible on enemy ships. When engaging in ship battles you will be able to board and raid the ships you disable. In the middle of battle you’ll be able to instantly switch between controlling Kenway and the ship. The ship is also a traversable environment in order to help you get to your enemies ship.
Your ship and weapons are all upgradable through the course of the game. If you don’t have enough upgrades. the game will even warn you that a mission may be too hard in your current state. When doing side quests in the world, you gain points to spend on your cannons, armor, blades, guns, and other upgrades.
Every other Assassin’s Creed game has been split into separate large areas. You would have to load each area you wanted to enter which destroyed the open world feeling. For the first time in the series, Assassin’s Creed 4 has a large open world with no loading screens in-between. Ubisoft felt that if you couldn’t sail the open ocean without hitting a loading screen, the game wouldn’t feel as immersive. If there were loading screens it would take away lots of the immersion and sense of exploration. The game takes place in the Caribbean during 1716, the golden age of piracy. You’ll encounter many famous pirates like Black Beard and Benjamin Horngold.
The world contains uncharted islands to discover, side quests, contracts, and naval battles. You’ll be able to find treasure maps, engage in the British and Spanish war, or just go whaling. There are a few hub cities to explore as well such as Kingston, Havana, and Nassau.
Console Specific Features
Assassin’s Creed 4 will be the first game in the series to make the jump to the next generation consoles. As such Ubisoft is taking advantage of the unique features on both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. For the PlayStation 4 version, Assassin’s Creed 4 will take advantage of the controller’s touch pad. You will be able to navigate your map, zoom in and out, and place way points using the touch pad. For the Xbox One, Ubisoft has been very vague on how Kinect will integrate with the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s similar to the PlayStation 4 version, and it only really allows map controls.
Many of the same collectibles from previous games make a return. However, things like feathers and flags will not be included in Assassin’s Creed 4. Instead there are hidden treasure chests to discover, relics, parchments, and songs. While sailing on the seas it can get boring, which is why crews use to sing songs for entertainment. Over the course of the game you can unlock new songs for your crew to sing. They don’t have an impact on gameplay, nor are they really meaningful, but the songs add a little touch of fun and we can’t wait to collect them all. It reminds me a lot of the iPod in Metal Gear Solid 4. There were tracks hidden throughout the game which could be played at anytime.
Multiplayer returns in Assassin’s Creed 4 but we don’t know much about it other than it will contain game modes from the previous Assassin’s Creed titles. It will support up to eight players at any given time. For those of you who have never played the multiplayer mode in previous titles, it involves hunting down and killing designated targets. You must use stealth and cunning in order to blend in and locate your enemies. However, you aren’t only hiding from your target, you are trying to avoid your pursuer. At all times someone, who you can’t identify, is trying to murder you. Standing out from the crowds, running on rooftops, and killing your enemies can leave you open and vulnerable to death. Completing matches earns you experience towards your rank. Gaining ranks rewards you with new abilities and weapons for your loadouts. It’s a very tense and unique experience that I highly recommend.
Whether Assassin’s Creed 3 left you disappointed or wanting more, the next game in the series looks to please. This is the first open world game in the series, and the scope looks impressive. However, this game could sink or swim. Many diehard Assassin’s Creed fans will love the additions and the story, but it’s unclear whether or not critics of the series will change their minds now. However, many people who were negative about Assassin’s Creed 3 seem impressed with the demos that they’ve played so far. Assassin’s Creed 4 will be available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 4 on October 29th, 2013. The PC version will be available on November 1st, while the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions are set for a November 19th release.
Did you enjoy our Assassin’s Creed 4 preview? Are you excited about the game? Let us know in the comments below.